Alumnus Josh Robertson Uses Entrepreneurship Education to Build a Successful Family Business
By: Ty Aldridge
In his final semester, Josh Robertson was enrolled in a "Managing a Family Entrepreneurial Business" course, and through his education, he developed the vision and business plan for National HME.
"With the entrepreneurship skills I learned in college and my dad's experience in the healthcare industry, I began to wonder what hospice companies do for their medical equipment needs," Josh said. "I researched and found there was a gap of communication and understanding between the hospice companies and the equipment providers."
After graduating in 2006 with degrees in Management and Marketing, Josh knew that he wanted to execute the business plan to start his family-run business. With the help of his father, George, who had an extensive background in healthcare, Josh started National HME from the ground floor in Fort Worth. The company, which now operates nationwide, serves as a hospice-specific durable medical equipment company providing quality equipment services and cost containment solutions to the hospice industry.
With the initial launch of the company, Josh and his father were able to build a client base, develop effective business solutions and provide high-quality customer service. However, because of the company's rapid growth, Josh felt that further education would ultimately help National HME accomplish its goals. In 2009, he enrolled in the MBA for Working Professionals program to gain the appropriate skills to handle his flourishing business.
Throughout the MBA program, Josh found that the course with the most benefit to his business was "Strategic Management." The lessons focused on exploring complex issues and creating strategies to solve for those issues. Ultimately, Josh, with the help of his executive team, wrote and executed the strategic plan to bring on an additional business partner that could infuse the capital needed for growth. In January 2010, Josh and George brought on a healthcare private equity firm to be that partner.
Upon Josh's graduation in 2011, the company was thriving and expanding across the United States. As the company was growing, serving more patients, and developing new technology, the Robertson's and the board of directors decided to do a professional search for a seasoned CEO to take the company to the next level. Josh's father decided to resign as president and CEO of the company in October 2012 and assume a new role of Executive Chairman.
"It allowed me to step back and look at the company at a strategic standpoint," Josh's father said. "We needed to make a decision, not only for our patients but also to our teammates, for their hard work and dedication, and this transition helped that."
National HME recently re-capitalized the business and brought on an additional private equity firm that took majority ownership. The Robertsons sold their shares; however, despite the sale, Josh felt proud of the fact that he was able to successfully start and execute a dream.
"Our goal was to make a family business, our vision was to provide a continuum of quality care in the hospice health services around the world, and we did that!" Josh said.
During that time, Josh and his wife Kristina (also a Texas Tech alumna) started a non-profit 501c3 Project 4031. Project 4031 strengthens the end of life stories for terminally ill patients and their families by providing basic needs, fulfilling dreams, and also has an international hospice outreach.
In addition to the success he's accomplished in the business and non-profit world, Josh is committed to helping current students. He is the president of the Rawls College's newly implemented young alumni group, Rawls Raiders, which provides Rawls graduates valuable resources for post-graduation success. His hope is that future Rawls students continue to delve into entrepreneurship and start their own businesses.
"I want to encourage students to pursue their dreams. The education you receive at the college will help you create business strategies, formulate executive designs, and find funding, which are all vital components to starting and running a successful business," he said.